“Mr Atlee is a very modest man,” said Churchill once of his political opponent in a parliamentary debate, and paused before uttering “and he has every reason to be modest”. This is how I feel about cauliflower. Everyone gets so excited and raves about it and turns it into cus cus or rice and roasts it like meat and adds sauces and accoutrements and 101 spices and other veggies to turn it into a salad. Which proves my point. It’s hard to ‘do’ cauliflower without bolstering it with other helpful ingredients. Cauliflower on its own is ‘modest’ in the Churchillian sense.
I had bought some cauliflower the other day with the intention of roasting it and serving it with an almond and anchovy sauce. By the time I got around to preparing dinner last night, however, it was past half past eight and realised roasting was out of the question. So I simmered the florets for a little bit and then cooked them à l’ancienne, i.e. the old fashioned way. No fuss.
Butter and extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan, a pinch of paprika, slithers of garlic. Salt and pepper.
Cook the cauliflower over a fairly high heat. Add a bit of white wine and let it evaporate its alcohol content.
Switch off the heat and add some fresh tarragon.
A modest effort with a not-so-modest result, huh?